The novel coronavirus is set to be one of the defining moments of our lives and of the 21st century. This will be the millennial generation’s greatest challenge we’ve ever faced. Sure, we came of age in a post-9/11 society, lived through the recession of 2008, and were threatened by gun violence in our schools, but this era of history is unlike anything we as a generation have ever encountered.
Our grandparents were born in the era of the Great Depression. They then grew up, and perhaps even served, during World War II. They were called to the battlefield or to efforts on the homefront and came together in a time of unprecedented global turmoil. From a very young age, they understood the value of a hard-earned dollar and to not take anything in life for granted. This generation then gave birth to the Baby Boomers, who grew up during the uncertain times of the Cold War, the Vietnam War, and the Civil Rights Movement. As much as we all appreciate a good, “OK, Boomer” reference, these two generations have lived through hardship and geo-political unrest. For Generations X, Y (AKA Millennials), and Z, this is our first true encounter with such a life-altering, history-shaping event that is set to impact the lives of billions of people.
Unlike generations before us though, we are not being called to the battlefield or to efforts on the homefront (aside from of course medical, emergency, and essential personnel). Instead, our call of duty is something we’ve been quite honestly training for our whole lives – to stay the F away from each other! We’ve been waiting for this moment to prove our usefulness to the older generations, and hey, this is it on a silver platter! All of the hours we’ve spent on our devices have added up to this moment in history. Our grandparents were sent across the globe to fight for freedom in World War II, and now we are being sent to our couches to fight for the health of humankind. If this is our biggest moment to prove ourselves and to set an example for everyone, this is truly our time to shine.
We were built for this! Connecting online via FaceTime rather than seeing each other face to face?! Done. Using a workout app in the comfort of our own homes instead of having to deal with sweaty locker rooms at the gym?! Done. Scrolling on social media, playing video games, and learning Tik Tok dances?! Done, done, and done. We’ve basically spent years in tech bootcamp to prep for this very moment in history. We have trained our entire lives to be socially distant physically, yet still socially connected virtually.
If most of our basic training skills have consisted of online shopping and binge watching, we are pretty well equipped for this physical distancing piece in the battle against coronavirus. If we have to serve our country and our fellow humans across the globe by quite literally putting the HOME back in homefront, then we are set! That means if you have any further recreational or travel plans, please do your civic duty to CANCEL ASAP (before the world forces you to do so, because at this rate who knows if plane/train/bus travel will even be a possibility in the days to come). Physical distancing is our mission, and we have to all do our part by doing what we do best – staying the F away from others.
People will look back on this moment in history and wonder why we were so slow to #flattenthecurve of the virus when all we had to do was just to stop, slow down, and smell the roses (because nature still goes on in her beautiful albeit somewhat mocking way right now). And in the stories that are one day to be told about this era in history, people will ask why time and time again, countries kept making the same mistakes which cost people their lives?! Forget about the money because it means nothing right now anyways. Forget about former social norms or social media, and forget about what you should’ve been doing had this not happened. Instead, please think about what you SHOULD be doing right this instant which is to do your job for humanity.
If you are on a WFH schedule, that is happening for a reason! If your kids are out of school for the next few weeks, again that is done for good reason! This is not the time to be out at a bar, or kicking it back with the crew for your fantasy league, or out on the beach for your friend’s birthday/bachelorette/NGAF party. This is not a Snow Day where the snow will melt overnight and you’ll be back to the routine schedule in the morning. This is an unprecedented moment in history where we need to get used to the new normal in a world that is changing hour by hour. Our highly structured and heavily routined former lives are paused for now, and we will need to adapt to the unstructured and uncertain times that lie ahead.
Don’t doubt yourself because you, like the generations that came before you, can do this! Humans are adaptable creatures, and we will get through this and come out on the other side. We are all in this together (yes, cue the classically corny High School Musical song). Use this time to live with intention and to not take even the mundane parts of life for granted any longer. Spread kindness, compassion, and common sense instead of germs, anxiety, and panic. In the meantime though while we ride this thing out, please do your part and stay put on the homefront – that means in your home and leaving only for fresh air and for the absolute essentials like food and medicine. Finally, and most importantly, medical professionals, emergency personnel, and all essential workers, thank you for your service. With our years of combat training for this moment, we can and will defeat this virus together.